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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Jan 23, 2013 1:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How old when you became a HEAD?

Mystery of The Festival Express - my hippie story reposted from Sept, 4, 2010

The Unknown Student sculpture in front of Rochdale

What I'd personally like to know is, did the Grateful Dead ever have enough time to make the scene at Rochdale College in 1970? If they did, what did they think of that place?

250px-Former_Rochdale_College.JPGRochdale College was the place to be in Toronto during the late '60s and early '70s. It was located on Bloor Street nearby the famous intersection with Yonge Street.

Rochdale was the home of hippies, utopians, acid heads, exotic dancers, bikers, flower children, American draft dodgers, Portuguese draft dodgers, feminists, communards, lost souls, found souls, kids, Krishnas, irritating primal screamers, slackers, drifters, grafters, and drug dealers of every size, shape, disposition, and level of intelligence and style.

Rochdale College was an 18-floor building housing an entire police-free counter-cultural community in the center of Toronto, Ontario. Rochdale was to Canada what Haight-Ashbury, People's Park, the Chelsea Hotel, and a dozen other counter-cultural enclaves were to the United States. According to the CBC Archives, by 1971 Rochdale had become known as "North America's largest drug distribution warehouse." Hash, pot, and LSD were in large supply.

A longtime friend of mine had a sister who lived there with a very cool guy from Haight-Ashbury whom she married. They were American draft dodgers who moved to Canada in order for him to avoid being sent to Vietnam. Many people living there, including this dude, ran small businesses as dope dealers and beer dealers. These people maintained 3 separate rooms inside: their store; their storeroom; and their living quarters. I went to Rochdale numerous times from 1971 to 1973. Me and my friend learned how to easily smuggle stuff back and forth. This is how I maintained my very incredible stash. I made enough money to cover the meager expenses.

I wrote a lengthy posting on this forum about me dropping acid and smoking bowls of Nepalese hash while taping GD at RFK Stadium in 1973. Rochdale is where that incredible dope came from!

People could and did graduate from Rochdale College in a variety of ways. Tuition for the B.A. granting course is $25.00. Course length is 24 hours, and the degree was awarded on answering of a skill testing question. Tuition for the M.A. granting course is $50.00. During this course, the length of which will be determined by the student, the student will be required to answer a skill testing question of his choice. For a Ph.D. the tuition is $100.00 and there will be no questions asked.

Rochdale was the largest co-op residence in North America. The college's modern architecture was uniquely designed for communal living. Some areas were divided into independently operated communal units of about a dozen bedrooms (called ashrams), each with its own collective washroom, kitchen and dining room. Each unit was responsible for collecting rent and maintaining its own housekeeping. Other areas consisted of bachelor, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. On the first and second floor were common areas used for socialization, education, and commercial purposes. The roof was accessible from the 17th floor. It was used for sunbathing.

clothing was optional when sunbathing on Rochdale's rooftop